Now a Site of Special Scientific Interest – the disused airfield of St Davids provides a very unusual and fascinating place to walk, ride or run. With panoramic views around the peninsula, this can be a wonderful place to enjoy the ever-changing skies of Pembrokeshire. With accessible paths and plenty of variety, this part of the National Park is ideal for all ages and abilities and is very popular with dog-walkers.
Wartime Coastal Command.
St. Davids Airfield was built by the RAF in 1943 as a base for Halifax, Liberator and Fortress bombers and the associated infrastructure, which included a hospital, barracks and even a prisoner of war camp. It supported the Battle of the Atlantic, particularly to fight off German U-Boats and E-Boats – these were submarines and high speed vessels, respectively, deployed to attack allied shipping.
The stone circle at St. Davids airfield.
In 2002, the National Eistedfodd was held here and local farmers created the Gorsedd stone circle which is such a well-known landmark at the intersection of the paths. Some paths are muddier than others but there is an excellent accessible route – good for pushchairs and wheelchairs – as well as the wide expanse of the old runways. This is a fabulous place to learn to ride a bike!
St Davids Airfield reclaimed by nature.
In terms of wildlife, this area is now making a vital contribution to the re-creation of haymeadow and heathland. Care must be taken in Spring and Summer to protect the nesting skylarks and the ponds are fenced off to ensure they remain undisturbed. Wild ponies graze on the nearby heathland on the other side of the perimeter fence.
Easy access walk: 3.7 miles (5.9 km) there and back.
2.4 miles (3.9 km) using road.
A level walk on a disused airfield with views of
heathland; skylarks can be seen and heard in spring and summer.
How to get there:
Public transport: nearest bus stop in Solva (1.7 miles).
Own transport: Northwest Pembrokeshire; 1.5 miles East of St Davids. Approach along the A487 Solva to St. Davids road, turning right (look for the phone box on the main road) along a narrow lane through Fachelich, then right at the end of that lane and you’ll find a small parking area along on the left. Alternatively, approaching along the St. Davids to Fishguard road – which is also the A487 – turning right to approach through the village of Caerfarchell, carrying on through heathland setting as far as the obvious widened area on the bend that permits parking.
Grid ref. Suggested starting point: SM781254.
Toilets: nearest toilets in Solva and main car park in St Davids (not nearby).
Starting from Fachelich (Vachelich).
Follow the obvious path around the perimeter of the former airfield. From the stone circle turn right onto a path. Follow this path straight ahead; there are hedge banks on both sides. You’ll see there’s an opening onto the main runway which permits a walk fully exposed to the elements – and encourages your imagination to turn back time and consider what it must have been like when the aircraft were stationed here; at the end of the runway you’ll find you rejoin your original perimeter walkway and can go left to retrace your route.
If you stay on the path from the stone circle, you’ll continue as far as a gate by the perimeter road. From here you can retrace your steps or return via the road. If you do turn right onto the road, take great care as there is no pavement, and continue along the road back to your start point.
Alternatively, after passing the stone circle you can continue straight on along the perimeter path for two options – either turn left to pass through a gate – look for the walk emblem on the post – and follow a loop along a raised narrow path of compacted stone, which passes through the heathland OR go to the end of the perimeter path where you’ll find another gate that opens out to an alternative layby – where you might choose to park if tackling the walk from Caerfarchell approach, instead. Retrace steps.